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French Future Tense Explained Once and for All

The Future Tense in French is commonly used to talk about what’s going to happen in the future. As with all French tenses, the Future Tense can prove to be tricky when learning the language. Fear not – we’re here to help you!
Let’s find out how to form and use it in this quick and simple guide.

At the end of this article you’ll find a quiz on the Future Tense in French → OK take me to the Quiz!

What is the Future Tense?

Quite simply, the Future is a category of tenses that are used to refer to an event that will take place in the future.

English uses different constructions to talk about the future. These are mostly formed with the auxiliary verb “will”, “shall” or a form of “be” with “going to.”

However, you’ll find it to be not that different in French.

 

How is the Future Tense used in French?

First of all, it’s important to know that there are two types of Future Tenses in French:

  • The futur proche (near future) is used to talk about something that you’re certain is going to happen. It’s widely used in French; during informal conversations or to make simple statements.

For example: Je vais lire un livre. (I am going to read a book) or Je vais avoir 18 ans demain. (I am going to turn 18 tomorrow).

  • The futur simple (simple future) is useful if you want to talk about future projects or predictions. It’s used in more formal situations and to make polite requests. It also appears in sentences that include si (if) and quand (when).

For example: Quand j’aurai 18 ans, je pourrai conduire. (When I’ll be 18, I’ll be able to drive) or Je saurai comment jouer à la guitare si je m’entraine. (I’ll be able to play the guitar if I practice).

It’s also good to keep in mind that:

  • Just like in English, a future event can be discussed using the present tense:

For example: Je dîne avec le patron à 8 heures. (I’m having dinner with my boss at 8pm.)

  • The futur proche will always require the conjugated form of aller to be placed before the verb.

For example: Vous allez échouer si vous n’étudiez pas. (You’re going to fail if you do not study) or Il va manquer la classe. (He’s going to miss the class.)

Here, allez is the verb aller conjugated in the 2nd person plural (vous) and va is conjugated in the 3rd person singular (il). As you can see, they are placed before the verb.

Watch the video below for a quick recap on the French Future Tense:

 

Forming the French Future Tense: Futur Proche

The futur proche is formed with the verb aller conjugated in the present tense followed by an infinitive:

Pronoun Present tense aller Infinitive + future ending English
je vais manger I am going to eat
tu vas écrire You are going to write
il/elle/on va savoir He/She/One is going to know
nous allons aller We are going to go
vous allez lire You are going to read
il/elles vont boire They are going to drink

 

Forming the French Future Tense: Futur Simple

1. Regular verbs ending in -er and -ir

For regular verbs ending in -er and -ir, it’s quite simple. Take the infinitive  form of the verb and add the appropriate ending after the r.

Let’s take a look at the verbs manger (to eat) and dormir (to sleep) as examples:

Pronoun Ending Infinitive + future ending English
je -ai je mangerai I will eat
tu -as tu mangeras You will eat
il/elle/on -a il/elle/on mangera He/She/It/One will eat
nous -ons nous mangerons We will eat
vous -ez vous mangerez You will eat
ils/elles -ont ils/elles mangeront They will eat

Pronoun Ending Infinitive + future ending English
je -ai je dormirai I will sleep
tu -as tu dormiras You will sleep
il/elle/on -a il/elle/on dormira He/She/It/One will sleep
nous -ons nous dormirons We will sleep
vous -ez vous dormirez You will sleep
ils/elles -ont ils/elles dormiront They will sleep

 

2. Regular verbs ending in -re

The rule of thumb for these kind of verbs is to remove the last letter ‘e’ and add the appropriate ending.

Let’s take a look at the verb vendre (to sell) as an example:

Pronoun Ending Infinitive + future ending English
je -ai vendrai I will sell
tu -as tu vendras You will sell
il/elle/on -a il/elle/on vendra He/She/It/One will sell
nous -ons nous vendrons We will sell
vous -ez vous vendrez You will sell
ils/elles -ont ils/elles vendront They will sell

 

Note: When conjugating verbs ending in –eler and –eter in the Futur Simple, the letters “t” and “l” are doubled. For example, the verb rejeter (to reject) becomes rejetter + future ending (ie je rejetterai = I will reject), while the verb appeler (to call) becomes appeller + future ending (ie tu appelleras = you will call).

3. Irregular verbs

As with practically every French tense, pesky irregular verbs always make an appearance and the Future Simple is no different. In fact, more than twenty verbs fall into this category. No need to panic though! Try starting off with the most common ones and once you get the hang of those, you can move onto the rarer ones later.

Let’s have a look at the verbs avoir, être, faire, aller, venir and pouvoir.

Infinitive Future stem Example English
Avoir (to have) -aur J’aurai I will have
Etre (to be) -ser Tu seras You will be
Faire (to do) -fer Il/Elle/On fera He/She/It/One will do
Aller (to go) -ir nous irons We will go
Venir (to come) -viendr vous viendrez You will come
Pouvoir (to be able to) -pourr ils/elles pourront They will be able to

 

Lastly, it’s useful to know that the French Future Tense is commonly used with certain recognisable phrases such as demain (tomorrow), ce soir (tonight), le week-end prochain (next weekend), bientôt (soon) etc.

 

And there you have it – the French Future Tense explained once and for all! Why not try our quiz below to put what you’ve learnt today to the test?

See you next lesson – and in the meantime, don’t forget to practice! If you need any help don’t hesitate to get into contact with one of our French tutors.

Quiz: Test your knowledge of the French Future Tense!

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future tense french, French Future Tense Explained Once and for All

French Future Tense

1 / 6

Tu (comprendrai / comprendra / comprendras / comprenas) quand tu seras plus grand.

English: You will understand when you will be older.

2 / 6

Ils (prendra / prennent / prirent / prendront) l’avion la semaine prochaine.

English: They will take the plane next week.

3 / 6

“Je serai médecin.” means

4 / 6

“Élodie et Christophe auront des enfants” means

5 / 6

How would you say "When she gets here, we will yell “Happy birthday”." ?

6 / 6

Quand vous (terminerez / termineraient / terminèrent / terminera) de manger, vous irez faire une sieste.

English: When you finish eating, you will go take a nap.

 

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